Updated on 09/16/2011 8:31AM

Lukas filly holds all the cards


ELMONT, N.Y. - Holiday Runner appears to hold a significant edge in speed, seasoning, and class over her six rivals entered in Thursday's $100,000 Fashion Stakes for juvenile fillies at Belmont Park.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Holiday Runner is 2 for 2, including a victory against colts in the Three Chimneys Juvenile on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Not only did she beat the boys, but she defeated a quality field: Runner-up Zavata returned to win a maiden race at Belmont, and Posse, who ran third as the 7-10 favorite in the Three Chimneys, came back to win the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at Churchill.

"I know she's got a lot of quality," Lukas said from Churchill. "She's extremely quick; she takes them out of their game. She's got great acceleration from the gate."

Holiday Runner's half-mile fractions in both her maiden win at Keeneland and the Three Chimneys are significantly faster than those of her rivals. She is one of two horses in this field to have run twice. The other, Milliondollarlady, has not raced past three furlongs.

Despite Holiday Runner's quickness - and the fact she's a daughter of Meadowlake - Lukas does not view her as strictly a sprinter.

"She's long and lean and doesn't have a sprinter's body," Lukas said. "She defies the conformation of a quick horse."

Lukas could have run Holiday Runner in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup, which was graded and worth $50,000 more than the Fashion, but owner Stephen J. Barberino wanted to run her in New York.

Jerry Bailey will ride Holiday Runner from post 2.

Holiday Runner's biggest challenge figures to come from La Violette, trained by former Lukas assistant Todd Pletcher, who won this race last year with Smok'n Frolic. La Violette won a May 15 maiden race at Belmont by 7 3/4 lengths.

"Wayne's filly has got a big advantage in that she's run twice, defeated colts, and at this stage every race is a big edge," Pletcher said. "Our filly won about as easy as a horse could first time out, and I'm kind of excited about this race."

La Violette, a daughter of Coronado's Quest, breaks from post 4 under John Velazquez.

Forever Partners, who overcame trouble to win a maiden race at Delaware Park first time out, ships in for the dangerous Anthony Dutrow. Rouge General, a 7 1/4-length maiden winner at Pimlico in April, hails from the same connections as Xtra Heat.

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